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Balihoo Predicts Top Local Marketing Trends for 2010

Will local marketers continue to spend money on "traditional media" (print, radio, TV) in 2010, or turn increasingly to online channels including social media? Will "old-fashioned" direct mail make a comeback, or will local marketers turn to mobile advertising using smart phone technology?

According to a white paper from Balihoo, a provider of local marketing automation technology and services, the merging of time-tested tactics with new technology will lead the way in 2010. Balihoo's predictions for local marketing trends this year are below. See how they stack up with your own.

  • Local television: TV audiences may be watching an average of 13 hours a week, but an increase in programming options means that viewers are watching far more programs across the board. This pays off for local TV advertisers, giving them the ability to focus their messages on smaller, more targeted groups of viewers.
    Prediction: More local businesses will use TV - particularly cable - to reach these more refined, segmented audiences.
  • Local newspapers: Local newspaper advertising has been declining rapidly as local marketers are looking for a greater ability to target their messages and audiences. Online newspaper advertising, however, has been expanding.
    Prediction: Online advertising for local newspapers will halt its expansion and go flat, or even see a slight decline. The year will be a turning point for news delivered over the Web and mobile devices, which are areas in which newspapers typically do not excel. The exception to this prediction: publications - both print and online - that serve rural areas or are focused on hyper-local news.
  • Direct mail: There has been a resurgence in direct mail as no-call lists, e-mail spam rules, and untargeted broad media affect local marketers' ability to reach audiences.
    Prediction: Better targeting and new, advanced tools to personalize messaging and track results will lead to a surge in direct mail.
  • Mobile: Smart phones are becoming more popular, and technologies are moving mobile advertising from primarily text messaging-based to including images and video. However, Balihoo still sees mobile at the local level as more sizzle than steak.
    Prediction: The year will bring the biggest jump yet in text-based mobile advertising, but more advanced options such as image and video will be limited to all but the trendiest of trendsetters.
  • Search engine optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts were popular in local marketing plans in 2009, moving to the forefront of many local marketing budgets as Internet content has become more local and lively.
    Prediction: There will be a big push for local SEO as more local businesses adopt the tactic, increasing competition across the board.
  • E-mail: E-mail marketing at the local level has been slow-growing because of marketers' inability to collect relevant customer data.
    Prediction: Local businesses will place a greater emphasis on collecting customer data and using it for e-mail outreach.
  • Social Media: Social media has been the darling of national marketing efforts for the past few years and has made surprising inroads in local marketing.
    Prediction: Social media will continue its dramatic rise as local businesses capitalize on this opportunity to engage with their local customers. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter will be favorites of local marketers, who will leave other social media untouched until later in the new decade.
  • Point-of-purchase: Point-of-purchase marketing (also known as in-store marketing) held steady in 2009.
    Prediction: There will be a significant rise in these efforts as local marketers look to increase their in-store sales.
  • Integrated marketing communications: Historically, local businesses have not done a particularly good job at integrating their marketing communications across multiple channels. As audience sizes shrink and targeting options increase, there has been a renewed interest from local business in pursuing an integrated marketing communications strategy.
    Prediction: Local marketers will continue their 2009 trend of pursuing an integrated strategy.
  • Measurement and metrics: A surprising trend in 2009 was the local marketing focus on measuring and optimizing the ROI of their campaigns. Interest in tracking the effectiveness of local marketing efforts reached unseen levels, driven primarily by the state of the economy and new tracking technology that works at the local level.
    Prediction: This trend will continue and expand. Now that local marketers have learned how to measure success, they will continue to capitalize on it.
  • Creative and branding: Local marketers have been turning to demand generation-based creative that includes a call to action and provides immediate feedback. In 2009, consumers became jaded by the failure of many corporations. The local marketer is taking advantage of this trend by focusing on the value of their brand.
    Prediction: Local marketers will concentrate more on social media, in-store, and personal interactions with consumers.

For more information, or to download Balihoo's white paper on local marketing automation, go to www.balihoo.com/lma.

Published: January 5th, 2010

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